By LINDSAY WELBERS
The family of Austin Hudson-Lapore, the 20-year-old University of Chicago student whose body was pulled from Lake Michigan on Wednesday, said his death was an accident but took comfort in knowing he died doing what he loved.
“Austin loved watching the weather. A stormy night on the lakefront with some free time after the end of his finals would have been hard for him to resist,” said his aunt Leigh Lapore Harris outside Rockefeller Chapel on Thursday, June 20. “It looks like, though, he just went a little too far out on the rocks and slipped and was caught on a wave.”
Hudson-Lapore was last seen leaving his apartment at 53rd Street and Kimbark Avenue on Wednesday, June 12. He left without his wallet or cell phone and it is believed he walked to the lake to watch the weather following a storm.
A week later his body was found along 39th Street by a fisherman. His family came from their home in New Mexico and posted photos and posters featuring their son’s face and launched a social media campaign to find him.
University of Chicago Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Karen Warren Coleman said counseling is available to all university affiliated people who feel they need it. A memorial service on campus will be held at a yet-undetermined date.
Hudson-Lapore’s mother, Dr. Laurie Hudson, said the family was grateful to Hyde Parkers for opening their doors and showing kindness during the time their son was missing.
“He came to the University of Chicago, he applied to many universities and was accepted to all of them, but he ended up coming here because he thought this would be the most rigorous and have the best core curriculum,” his father Gregg Lapore said.
“And because he thought he would find the people most like him,” his mother added.
“And he did,” his father said.
Hudson-Lapore had always been fascinated by science, statistics and the weather. He would wake up late and night to watch The Weather Channel and he enjoyed baseball and NASCAR for the statistics.
“I started playing Scrabble with him when he was 6 and by the time he was 10 he would be winning. He had this bear trap mind for the most arcane words,” Hudson said.
His sister, Aidan Hudson-Lapore said her brother memorized the board game’s two-letter word list to help him win more easily.
The family has requested that anyone who knew him is welcome to submit descriptions of their memories with him to rememberingaustin.com